Report by Paula Antolini
May 9, 2018 9:58PM EDT
Bethel Town Budget Still Too High — Letter to the Editor from Cynthia McCorkindale
Bethel’s Town budget failed by 66 votes on April 10th. The capital plan, with the last-minute inclusion of a $974K turf field, went down in flames.
The Board of Finance’s majority members extracted some alchemic equation from this fact, saying that, since the Town budget vote was so close, a few minor tweaks should do the trick.
So, a skimpy $325K was cut out of the operating budget, plus one highway truck out of the capital plan. Oh, and the turf field, which shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
But $325K is not enough. It’s like picking one piece of lint off a very large, very pilled sweater.
The Blue Wave washes up on the beach, in a second attempt to clear the path to a “better community.” But what they consider “community” does not comprise Bethel as a whole.
During the current administration, taxes and mil rates have risen, projects gone overbudget, and monolithic building developments continue to crop up all over town. With five Democrats, the Board of Finance no longer restrains spending, it actively increases it!
A recent ordinance granting a three-year tax abeyance to qualifying new businesses is proof that higher taxes don’t solve the problem. A cursory drive around the town reveals over a half-dozen empty storefronts – some that have been vacant for years.
Town officials would have us believe that any reductions will “cut services in half,” and “send Bethel backwards.” The concept of paying cash in the future instead of using a credit card is, in theory, a sound one. However, with higher spending combined with nearly $1 million in police station overruns, I just don’t see that as a viable selling point for this budget.
Bethel voters have the last word. On Thursday, May 10th, vote NO – TOO HIGH.
Cynthia J. McCorkindale,
Bethel Board of Finance member